Two Amazing Shade Gardens

The post features two great shade gardens with big one thing in common and that is a wonderful use of plant materials.
One of the biggest transformations that marks the shift from winter into spring is the emergence of the green leaves. Never does green foliage look as fresh and vibrant as it does in the spring! Today I want to share a bird-friendly shade garden where foliage is the star.
Green is the pervasive color here.
At first consideration this may seem like a simplistic use of color, but there is a subtle sophistication at work here that makes the appearance of fresh green leaves seem all the more dramatic each spring.
The different shades of green play off one another, and even though the flowerbed is largely a single color, the planting as a whole, reads as quietly "colorful".
In this little corner, you can see a great example of the blend of different greens.
1 The bright green in the top left corner is fresh growth on a Yew. 2 In the centre is a blue-green Actaea pachypoda 'Misty Blue'. 3 In the lower right hand corner is the ferny foliage of an Astilbe. 4 Dogwood tree 5. Japanese Forrest Grass, Hakonechloa 6. Solomon Seal, Polygonatum
1. Yew 2. Golden Shadows Pagoda Dogwood 3. May Apple, Podophyllum peltatum which is a native plant. 4. Solomon Seal, Polygonatum 5. 'Butterfly' Japanese Maple 6. Astilbe 7. Astilbe 8. Astilbe
This is a bird-friendly garden. In clear view of the back patio is a squirrel-proof bird feeder. The homeowners have added a circle of bricks at the base of the feeder that is both decorative and practical. Not only does it mean that fallen seed is less likely to sprout in the lawn, it makes cleaning up any stray birdseed easy to do with a broom.
Bleeding Heart, Dicentra spectabilis 'Gold Heart' has amazing chartreuse foliage and pink heart-shaped flowers in spring. Normal, sandy or clay soil all work for this plant. It likes average to moist growing conditions. The foliage will start to fade and go dormant in late summer. Part to full shade. Height: 60-90 cm (23-35 inches), Spread: 60-90 cm (23-35 inches). USDA Zones: 2-9.
You can see more of this garden here:
The next garden I am about to show has a wide, but shallow backyard. Mature trees blur the boundaries of the garden however, making it feel much larger than it is.
The heavily laden Beauty Bush, with its arching branches of pale pink flowers, is one of the first things that catches your eye. This large shrub takes full advantage of a small break in the tree cover and resides happily in a small pocket of sunshine.
A few of the shade perennials identified:
I haven't noted the hosta, but suffice it to say, they form the foundation of this shady planting.
1. Bloodroot, Sanguinaria 2. Yellow Fumitory or Yellow Corydalis (a long blooming self-seeder) 3. Bleeding heart, Dicentra 4. Goat's Beard, Aruncus dioicus (a young plant, as it is quite small) 5. Violet 6. Heuchera 7. Pulmonaria 8. Lady's Mantle, Alchemilla
A nearby dogwood tree is also covered with small, star-shaped blossoms.
The front garden is not to be missed either. See additional pictures by clicking the link below.

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Want more details about this and other DIY projects? Check out my blog post!


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3 of 9 comments
  • Carolyn Longphre
    on Jan 22, 2018

    I need a design plan; otherwise, I don't know where to begin
    • Three Dogs in a Garden
      on Jan 22, 2018

      Often you can hire a professional to draw up a design and then you can execute the plan as time and money permit ( of course you can also have them plant the garden as well).

  • Jan
    on Apr 3, 2020

    Lovely, just plain lovely. Inspired me to plant problem areas!! Thank you.

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